WOW – Women of the World – Festival at Perth Concert Hall in 2017.

Pressing issues affecting women’s lives – including mental wellbeing, body image and surveillance – will be the focus of this year’s Women of the World Festival in Perth City Centre. Other key topics to be spotlighted will include social and economic injustice, the menopause and women’s relationship with alcohol.

A keynote session by WOW founder Jude Kelly OBE- who launched the movement which has now reached more than one million people worldwide in 2011 –  will set out why a gender equal world is a better place for all.  PBN members can also see Jude at our Breakfast Networking event on Friday 28th, ahead of the Festival itself. Book your place now >>>

The Perth event, which takes place on 29 and 30 September, will also feature an award-winning version of the hit play, The Vagina Monologues; an evening with the iconic Scottish singer songwriter Horse McDonald; and a packed programme that includes dance, poetry, puppetry and comedy.

A range of workshops will include speed mentoring sessions, a panel discussion on different approaches to leadership and tips and tricks on how to change a tyre.

It will be the second time that Perth has hosted an event promoted by WOW, which is the largest women’s festival movement in the world, taking place across five continents.

The festival, which made its Scottish debut in Perth last year, celebrates and recognises the achievements of women and girls, and takes a frank look at factors stopping them from achieving their potential.

Ms Kelly, who previously spent 12 years as Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, said: “This will be WOW’s 50th festival, and we’re proud to celebrate this with the people of Perthshire and beyond. Has there ever been a more exciting time of change for girls and women? “

“There’s so much to celebrate and so much to improve and it needs everyone to be involved. Despite the gravity and seriousness of the issues that hold women back, we aim to build a place of warmth, shared respect and fun.”

Ms Kelly paid tribute to WOW Perth Programmer Louise Brodie, highlighting how she had worked with the whole community to create a thoughtful, generous and rigorous programme that provided a platform for so many different voices.

Said Louise: “There have been some significant shifts in the fight for gender equality in the year since we presented our first festival. Gender equality is no longer an urban-centric conversation – it is being discussed across Scotland and now, more than ever, we must push forward.

“Diversity and inclusivity stand front and centre at WOW. The festival aims to inspire debate as well as positive change. It is a call to action not just of the head, but of the heart also.”

WOW is funded by Spirit of 2012, a charity which was established with £4.7million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund. It funds partners across the UK that provide opportunities in sports, physical activity, arts and culture, volunteering and social action.

PBN will be sharing a Market Place stand with The Extraordinary Training Company – please do drop by and say hello if you’re there!

How Did WOW – Women of the World Start?

Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival is a global festival movement launched by Jude Kelly CBE in London in 2011 that celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. To date, WOW has reached over one million people worldwide and this number is growing year on year. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations.

Each festival across the world – made up of talks, debates, music, activism, mentoring, pop ups and performance – celebrates women and girls, takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, and raises awareness globally of the issues they face and possible solutions. It reaches girls and women, boys and men from a broad range of social backgrounds and supplies a completely different sense of action and energy than a conventional conference approach.

Speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Gordon Brown, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart and many more including hundreds of women and men who don’t have public profiles but are working everyday to achieve gender equality. Over 25,000 people came to WOW London in 2016, thousands more have come to WOWs across the world and festival organisers have collaborated on cross-continental projects. www.southbankcentre.co.uk

What is Spirit of 2012?

Spirit of 2012 is a funding charity, established with £47 million from the Big Lottery. It funds partners across the UK that provide opportunities in sports, physical activity, arts and culture, volunteering and social action.  Spirit was founded to continue and recreate the spirit of pride, positivity and social connectedness that people experienced during the London 2012 Games.  They invest to create good outcomes for people and communities and have invested over £25 million into community projects in over 100 locations across the UK, benefiting more than 1 million people.

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